Life in Tarakan

11 Feb

20 years ago I sat in freshman orientation at Moody Bible Institute. In that class was a guy named Paul and a girl named Beth. We all became instant friends and brought another guy, Donnie, into our friendship not long after. Paul and Donnie played soccer together and had the common interest of owning motorcycles. Beth and I lived on the same dorm floor, became managers of the guys soccer team together and had an interest in riding motorcycles. Coincidence? I think not. After a few years, those 4 friends paired off, got married, had kids and settled into life. As I sit on Paul and Beth’s front porch here in Indonesia, I see the clarity of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

Paul and Beth’s home is located at the top of a street that overlooks the city and nearest mosque. The call to prayer comes 5 times a day for Muslims. It is broadcast out from each mosque (at various times) but the one closest to our house this week starts at 4 am. It is the morning wake up call to remind you that you are NOT in Wisconsin.

Our visit to Indonesia so far has been awesome! Not only have we been able to spend time with very dear friends, we have also had the chance to see God at work in this part of the world. Of course we have seen the ministry Paul has with flying. We also have seen the life their family lives in community here in Indonesia.

We have met their team members, who are more like family on the mission field than a co-worker. They are the ones there to cover the base if a kid is sick, when you need a date night, if your washing machine gives out, or if any other major (or minor!) emergency comes up. Those you live with here are the ones who understand the love/hate relationship of living in a different culture. The joys of adventure and agony of constant filth.

We had dinner with the adults on the team on Thursday night. Each week the adults meet for dinner then have a Bible study and worship time at someone’s house. It is a time to connect spiritually for the whole team. As we concluded the time of worship, you could hear the sound of the mosque in the background. It was a sweet time of worship and a reminder of the importance of unity of vision for their team.

This past week Wisconsin got hit with a snowstorm (or so we have heard!). On the same day, we visited the boy’s school. We had a great time visiting them for lunch and getting a tour of the school rooms. There are about 13 kids that attend the school here for MAF missionary kids. There are 2 amazing, loving, talented and creative teachers (we have gotten to know both of them this week). As we walked through one of the classrooms, we see on the chalkboard, “What is the difference between mittens and gloves? Where would you wear earmuffs?” We all stopped and laughed. Only in the tropical climate are you “taught” the importance of knowing the use of winter gear.

We also have had the chance to do some snorkeling with sea turtles, swim in a jellyfish lake, jump out of a boat to swim with manta rays and sharks, and seeing our kids make more friends around the world.

As we say good-bye to this leg of our journey, it is with a bit of sadness and a bit of excitement to see how the Lord will continue to faithfully guide our families for His purposes. It is not good-bye…just See ya later!


Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “Life in Tarakan

  1. Glenn N Sally Bremer

    February 11, 2015 at 1:07 am

    God has given you a gift of communication – verbally n writing. Love to read of your experiences n your heart n your perceptive n your spence of humor! Like the earmuffs story. How was the flight – assume better than a bus??? Your light is shining – bright:)!!! Love you

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Marissa Williams

    February 11, 2015 at 3:08 am

    20 years? ??? Are you sure? Good golly, y’all sure are getting old! So glad y’all were able to spend some sweet time together and for giving us all a glimpse into Paul and Berts ministry there in tarakan.

  3. Carol Doering

    February 11, 2015 at 3:53 am

    Nice glad you had a great time with Paul and Beth. I can so picture all you saw having experienced it only a year ago.


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